£1.5bn revamp of sink estate reveals 'social cleansing' plan

 

A council stands accused of using a £1.5bn regeneration scheme to cleanse one of Europe’s biggest housing estates of poor families after it emerged that just 79 of the 2,535 new homes on the site will be flats available to rent as social housing.

More than 1,200 residents of the Heygate Estate in Walworth, south London, were evicted in 2010 so that its neo-brutalist 1970s blocks could be bulldozed to make way for better quality, affordable homes as part of the Elephant & Castle redevelopment. The estate had become the dark face of urban degeneration and a backdrop to such films as Attack The Block, Shank and the crime drama Harry Brown.

But Southwark Council accidentally revealed this week how few of the new homes are earmarked as social rented units under its deal with property giant Lend Lease, when an edited copy of its confidential agreement was uploaded to the authority’s website.

The document, which has since been removed, had sensitive sections blacked out but it was possible to copy and paste these blocks of text into word-processing software to reveal the redacted words.

The report revealed that, having spent £44m pulling down the estate, Southwark will receive only £50m in return for the 22-acre site. The vast  majority of the 2,535 new homes will be sold privately. Demolition, which began in 2011, is being stepped up, with the aim of the first buyers moving in at the end of 2015.

The Labour-run council said it was investigating how the 97-page file was made public, but Cllr Fiona Colley, a cabinet member for regeneration, told The Independent: “We are very happy with the deal we’ve done.”

She insisted that the profit-sharing agreement would ensure residents and the council “could get a good deal” over the next 15 years if the property market improved. She also pointed to 512 new “affordable housing units” which had been created in the area, although the number still falls short of the council’s original pledge to ensure that 35 per cent of the new development would be affordable.

In 2010, the council argued that the Heygate, completed in 1974, had become so rundown and crime-ridden that it was not worth maintaining. The deputy leader, Kim Humphreys, said: “We are not in the business of gentrification. We want to transform the site and make the community there have a sustainable future.”

While many residents were happy to leave, 85 people refused to vacate their homes until compulsory orders were issued. At the time, tenants told The Independent they feared they would be simply shipped, as one resident put it, “from one dump to another”. The campaign group 35 Per Cent – named after the portion of affordable housing the council had promised to deliver in place of the Heygate – lobbied for “open master-planning, benefits for all and housing that really is affordable”.

The rights activist Peter Tatchell, who lived on a neighbouring estate for more than 30 years, said: “This leak proves what we suspected all along. A dodgy deal has been done  which short-changes Southwark Council and local tenants.

“Heygate residents have been treated like small change on a Monopoly board. The whole community has been dislocated for the sake of grandiose promises of a better social good that his now revealed to be a gigantic deception.”

Ms Colley insisted: “Some people are not happy – but some people are very happy with their brand new, affordable homes.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride